Gun grabbers try to overlook and ignore the Bill Of Rights and the Second Amendment.
At the most recent Democrat presidential debate, Robert Francis O’Rourke (he’d like us to think his name is “Beto”) shouted, “Hell yes, we’re going to take your AR-15, your AK-47.”
Since then he’s doubled down on his rant of that evening. Confiscating “assault rifles,” “semi-automatic weapons,” and ammo from law abiding American citizens is his desire.
While demagoguery sometimes makes for good political theater and can even score political points, it doesn’t do much to advance serious discussion about public policy.
Take a step back. Consider the numerous constitutional and legal problems with Mr. O’Rourke’s proclamation. Then think about what would happen even if there were no such constitutional prohibitions.
Just how would Mr. O’Rourke go about rounding up the millions of those guns that are in the hands of private, law-abiding American citizens?
Any serious discussion about gun control has to begin with the Second Amendment. Although there are those who pooh-pooh the Second Amendment, the Supreme Court of the United States certainly hasn’t.
Just a decade ago, the Supreme Court, in its landmark decision, District of Columbia v. Heller, clearly set forth that the rights affirmed in the Second Amendment are rights of individuals, including for the defense of themselves and their homes. By extension they reiterated that the Second Amendment doesn’t have anything to do with hunting, debunking the “why do you need that kind of gun for hunting?” line of thinking.
Our Second Amendment evolved from the English common law and from the English Bill of Rights crafted a century before. Sir William Blackstone said that these rights sprang from the natural law rights of self defense and opposition to tyranny and oppression. As with all of our Constitutional rights, they came from the Creator and not from any government.
It should be noted that various state constitutions contain similar protections for law-abiding citizens.
Article I, Section 21 of the Pennsylvania Constitution states clearly that, “The right of citizens to bear arms in defense of themselves and the State shall not be questioned.”
A review of the deliberations of the constitutional convention that produced that language a half century ago demonstrates that the drafters wanted to be even more explicit than the writers of the federal Bill of Rights.
That was in 1968, the same year that Democrat U.S. Senator Joe Clark lost his seat largely because he was a gun control advocate. In the intervening 50 plus years only two Democrats have won U.S. Senate seats (one of those the special election victory of Harris Wofford, who was then defeated in his re-election bid). That’s despite the fact that Democrats outnumbered Republicans by a million votes for most of that period.
It’s curious then as to why some believe there’s great political advantage to pursuing meaningless proposals to tramp on the rights of law-abiding citizens.
For example, there’s a proposal to require registration of guns in Pennsylvania. Thankfully, the Chair of the House Judiciary Committee, Rep. Rob Kauffman of Franklin County, has said there is “no chance” the legislation will move out of his committee. Even the Democrat Leader in the House opposes it and agrees that it should not get out of committee.
The problem with most of the additional gun control proposals is that they target the wrong people. The folks who are going to obey such restrictions aren’t the criminals.
The recent shootout in North Philadelphia clearly illustrates this point. The drug-dealing gunman had a rap sheet the length of War and Peace. He illegally possessed the guns he used to fire at police. Yet many of his previous gun offenses had been wiped off the books. More gun laws wouldn’t have made the difference. Stricter enforcement of existing laws would have.
There’s certainly an opportunity now for a healthy discussion and debate over what can be done to stem gun violence, including a serious look at the root causes, including mental health issues and the use of psychotropic drugs.
Those suggesting additional background checks have made some legitimate and serious proposals. Unfortunately, an instant background check system has been stymied by blocks on the data necessary to perform them.
Let’s have a debate centered on realistic, legal and workable solutions. Leave the inflammatory rhetoric for Robert O’Rourke’s failing political ambitions.